Biking is probably the most practical thing you can do during college. As it goes, the best bikes for college should be both economical and environment-friendly. In the process, these bikes should help you save money and won’t break the bank due to gas consumption. Ultimately, they should also provide you with a fun activity that helps you stay in shape.
In this article, you’ll learn more about what you need to look for in a bike as well as the 7 best bike models available on the market! So what are you waiting for? Scroll down to get started!
The Best Bikes For College Reviews
To help you get started on finding the best college bike for you, here are my top 7 favorite bikes along with brief descriptions, their advantages and drawbacks.
Best Bikes For College
1. Pure Fix Original Bike
With a smooth yet simple style, the Pure Fix Original bike is a fixed-gear and single-speed road bike that you should consider. Thanks to the flip-flop rear hub, you can choose to ride in a freewheel or fixed setting.
This classic bike is great for those who are just starting to ride a bike or practicing fixed riding. The straight fork and urban geometry frame are made with fully Tig-welded high tensile steel construction for strength and durability.
The Pure Cycles Drome saddle also adds a dash of style and provides a more comfortable ride. Front alloy dual pivot brakes are reliable and fast while the 40-mm deep dish wheels and custom Pure Cycles x WTB Thickslick tires offer superior traction on the road.
If you want a bike that is easy to maneuver and ride even during the rush hour on busy streets, the Pure Fix Original bike could be your best bet.
You can customize and upgrade this bike model by adding accessories like a water bottle holder, handlebars, foot straps, saddles, and more. This bike also comes in 7 different sizes to accommodate riders with heights of 4’11” to 6’6”.
- Easy to assemble
- Arrives with each part, well-packaged, and damage-free
- Comfortable seat
- Solid construction and built
- Runs smooth
- Allows you to achieve an excellent cruising speed
- Plenty of different colors to choose from
- Can be a little heavy
- The wheels produce some rattling noise
- Requires a little tweaking for customization
- Seat adjustment clamp can break easily if you over tighten it
- Accessories are sold separately
2. Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike
For those who are looking for a great bike for light and everyday use, the Vilano R2 Aluminum Road bike is another fantastic choice. This model features a 6061 double-butted aluminum frame which is lightweight and durable.
It even offers 21 speeds and upgraded quick release wheels to help you get where you want to go when you need to be there. The Shimano A050 thumb shifters allow for easy and convenient shifting.
All Vilano bikes boast of quality and performance at an affordable price. You can also find detailed assembly instructions, product information, maintenance tips, and more on their website.
Although putting together this bike is pretty simple, a safety check or tuning by a professional mechanic is highly recommended.
- Comes out of the box mostly assembled
- Quick and easy setup
- Rides well
- 21 different speeds
- Easy shifting
- Impressive quality for the price
- Quick release seat and wheels
- You cannot ride too fast with this bike
- Quite heavy
- Parts frequently need repair and maintenance
3. Schwinn Discover Men’s Hybrid Bicycle
The Schwinn Discover Men’s Hybrid Bike is a comfort bike which features a lightweight and sturdy aluminum frame, a built-in rack, a comfy sports seat, and anatomic grips with dual-density construction.
Thanks to the combined effects of a Schwinn alloy crank and Schwinn suspension fork, you can use the back sweep handlebar to adjust the stem and ride more comfortably.
Ride uphill easily and safely with the four finger brake levers, alloy twist shifters, Shimano rear derailleur, and a 21-speed SRAM grip shifter. Thanks to the fenders, you stay protected from dirt, mud, and others think that the wheels may catch on the street.
Additional features include a padded comfort seat, a gear carrier, an angle-adjustable alloy Ahead stem, swept-back upright handlebars, and Promax alloy linear pull brakes.
This bike is excellent for people with heights of about 5’4” to 6’2”. The wheels are 28 inches, and when assembled, the whole bike weighs 35.5 pounds. It is also covered by a 5-year limited warranty.
- Easy and simple to put together
- Full suspension
- Smooth and comfortable ride
- Looks and feels high-quality and durable
- Great entry-level bike
- Great for daily cruising
- This bike is huge and even on the lowest setting can be too high for smaller people
- The seat is stiff and hard
- The tires that the bike comes with are not meant for off-road rides
- Fenders are made of plastic
- Low-quality tire tubes
4. Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bicycle
To discover the amazing benefits and convenience offered by a bike for college, check out the Schwinn Loop Adult Folding bicycle! In just a few easy moves, this bike folds to a compact 29.5” by 29” by 19” sized unit but stretches out to be big enough to accommodate riders who are up to 6 feet in height.
Not only is this bike great for daily commute but is also great for camping since it is so easy to store even without a bike rack. The frame is also made with durable and quality steel to make sure you can enjoy it for a longer period.
This model features a Shimano Tourney rear derailleur and a seven-speed Shimano RevoShift Twist Shifter to help you break wind and ride over small hills. The included nylon carry bag, rear carry rack, durable steel hinges, and a kickstand make storage and commuting so easy.
Keep your clothes clean thanks to the rear and front fenders and pant guard that keep scratches and dirt away.
At only about 33 pounds when fully assembled, this lightweight bike also has 20-inch wheels and a limited lifetime warranty.
- Expertly packaged
- Quick and easy assembly
- Easy to store and carry around
- Can shift between 7 speeds
- Solidly built
- Minimal jarring on bumpy roads
- The seat could use more padding
- Nothing to hold the parts together and keep the bike folded when you need it to
- Small, hard seat causes discomfort
- Heavier than expected
5. 6KU Aluminum Urban Track Bike
If you are looking for an affordable and sturdy track bike for college, the 6KU Urban Track Bike could be the one for you. It comes with riser bars instead of drop bars so you can quickly and easily navigate through the city or campus.
It is made with a lightweight 6061 alloy frame and fork that makes it durable and ideal for both recreation and daily transportation.
The Urban Track bike also features smooth double butter alloy welding and replaceable stainless steel dropouts. The 30mm-deep double wall alloy wheels and 32H F/R flip-flop hub allow you to shift between freewheel or fixed gear riding.
- Properly lubricated chain and bolts
- High-quality construction
- Great visual appearance
- Small guide markings to assist in setup and alignment of parts
- Lighter than expected
- Well-calibrated, strong brakes right out of the box
- Comfortable seat
- The seat is slightly long and rubs uncomfortably on the skin
- No mounting points for a bottle cage and the front reflector mount
- Cheap brake pads and pedals may need to be replaced
- Wheel reflectors tend to be wobbly
6. Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance Hybrid Road Bike
Whether it is for fitness or commuting, you will like the smooth ride that the Vilano Diverse 3.0 road bike offers. With a hydro-formed alloy 6061 aluminum frame and fork, it is lightweight, durable, and good-looking.
Thanks to the disc brakes, you gain complete control over stops even when under bad weather. An upright handlebar and cushioned seat enhance comfort as you ride.
The integrated brake lever and Shimano EF 51 ⅜ Speed shifters allow you to shift between 24 different speeds. Shimano Tourney TX rear and front derailleurs and a Triple alloy crankset also help you get a smooth, reliable ride.
This model also comes with free platform pedals and water bottle mounts.
- Much lighter than big chain store mountain bikes
- Fantastic price point
- Great looks
- Amazing components for the price
- Strong brakes
- Some rubbing of the chain and gears
- Requires professional tuning
- A little overpriced
- Parts may rust and get scratched easily
7. Tommaso Monza Endurance Aluminum Road Bike
Last but not the least, the Tommaso Monza Endurance Aluminum Road Bike provides power for smooth rides. Thanks to the 40mm deep rims, you get great stability and aerodynamics.
The durable and lightweight compact frame and the HCT carbon fork dampen vibrations without adding bulk or too much weight. These are also backed up with the leading Lifetime frame and fork warranty.
The frame is constructed to accommodate a variety of fenders and rocks, giving you a versatile bike suited for both daily commutes and long rides.
A full Shimano Tiagra 4700 Groupset offers quick, easy, and responsive shifting under all circumstances. In addition, an 11x32T Tiagra cassette, Shimano Tiagra STI shifters, and a compact Tiagra crankset help you achieve confidence and control over challenges on the road.
Premium compact handlebars and a compact frame geometry give this bike a sleek appearance while also enhancing comfort and power. Each part is designed to deliver efficiency and comfort, so you get the most of the money that you pay for.
However, to enjoy its best performance and to be able to avail the warranties, it is recommended that you have this bike professionally assembled and tuned before riding it.
- Responsive gear switch and brakes
- Great value for money
- Enhanced safety features
- Comfy seat
- Powerful Shimano Tiagra 4700 brakes
- Attractive frame shape
- Lifetime warranty
- The pedals are weak and make it difficult to ride over long distances
- Brakes and shifters may need some tuning
- Only available online
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Bikes For College
Each bike model has unique characteristics that you will either love or hate. To make sure you find something that fits your needs and preferences, you need some parameters. Written below are what I think are the most important considerations and features to look for in a bike for college:
Type of Bicycle
Students often make the mistake of choosing the simplest bike assuming that they only need it to get to school and go back to the dormitories. However, you should always consider your lifestyle, other activities, and interests when choosing the type of bike that you need.
There is a bunch of different bike type options available on the market. For example, there are road bikes with smooth and thin tires for riding roads and paved trails, and there are off-road bikes like mountain bikes and adventure bikes that have larger, thicker tires with spikes for traction on rocky terrain or gravel.
There are also hybrid bikes that combine the benefits of mountain bikes and road bikes. They have semi-smooth medium-medium width tires for riding on smooth roads and rugged trails.
They are much more versatile because they can be used for casual riding, short-distance commuting, and both unpaved and paved bike trails. However, they are slightly heavier than road bikes and are not suited for off-road mountain bike trails.
Folding bikes are another great option for college students who need to travel with their bike on a boat or plane. You can also opt for a folding bike if you have limited storage space in your small apartment or dorm room.
These are also the best choice for the commuter who has to take a train or the bus or those with no parking space in their school or work. Although folding bikes have smaller wheels which makes them harder to handle and less efficient than standard bikes, many users claim that the advantages still outweigh the drawbacks.
Material For The Bike Frame
The best bikes for college will be more or less used every day. So, you want something that is durable. Durability is determined by the material used for the bike frame. The most common bike frame materials include steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon.
- Steel is affordable, durable, stylish, and easy to repair. However, it tends to give in when faced with harsh weather.
- Aluminum also looks great and is durable and lightweight. Unlike steel, aluminum does not yield to rust.
- Carbon bike frames are probably the most durable since they do not have all the weaknesses that other frame materials have. However, they are much more expensive.
- Titanium comes with different styles and finishes. It is rust-resistant and durable as well.
When choosing or evaluating a bike frame material, consider your budget, the climate in your university, and the amount of time and effort you are willing to sacrifice for maintenance and repair.
Frame Style And Size
As a college student, I know you also want to show people your personal style. Like clothes and shoes, bikes also come in various frame styles. Your priority should be comfort but feel free to choose something that appeals and looks good to you.
The size of the bike also matters because this determines your comfort and balance when riding it. When looking at the sizing of bikes, consider the length of your legs and torso and your height.
Backpacks are the most reliable thing to carry your school stuff in. However, it is also nice to have extra racks and panniers in a bike. Make sure you choose a bike with fenders to protect your clothes and things, primarily if your college is located somewhere with lots of mud and rain.
A bike’s handlebars also determine how hard or easy it will be to ride. Usually, higher seats offer the most comfort. However, higher seats also mean you must exert more effort and power into pedaling.
The most common types of handlebars include flat bars, drop bars, and rise bars:
- Flat bars are the standard handlebars for most bikes. They are often completely flat, but rare cases have a slight bend towards the biker. They are versatile and simple. They are better for riding up hills and through tight spaces. They are also lighter, cheaper, and apply less pressure on the lower back. However, they are not suitable for fast riding and risky courses.
- Rise bars are similar to flat bars but rise from the center clamp area. These offer more control, help avoid wrist problems by encouraging a more comfortable grip, and are better for trail biking and free riding. However, they are not the best for climbing. They are also more expensive, wider, and heavier. Therefore, they do not have the same efficient aerodynamics as flat bar bikes.
- Drop bars are versatile and good-looking. Like a flat bar, a drop bar has a straight middle section, but unlike a flat bar, the ends curve downward and towards the rider. Different types are depending on how curved, low, and wide the bar is. Drop bars look not only cool but also have great aerodynamics and performance that bike enthusiasts love. They also allow you to pedal more powerfully but with less effort. However, they are not great for trail biking and in making tight turns.
Bicycling Tips For College Students
Since your bike may easily be a prized possession during college, you would want to protect it as much as you want to keep yourself safe. So, here are some useful biking tips to help you steer clear of harm and danger so that you can enjoy smooth rides every day.
1. Always Wear A Helmet
Education is geared toward giving you a better life in the future but how can you enjoy all that if you get in an accident and suffer an injury? No matter how careful you are, you never know what will happen on the streets. So, never forget to wear a helmet. If you do not have one, purchase one as soon as you can.
2. Put Reflectors And Lights on Your Bike
Chances are, you will have to drive very early in the morning or late at night at some point while finishing a project or your thesis. Front lights are great for helping you see what is ahead of you, but you also need something to make you visible to drivers behind you. It is always smart to put indicators or reflectors on your bike. Even strips reflective stickers will do. A reflective raincoat or clothes can keep you even safer.
3. Invest in A Quality Bike Lock
Bikes can be easily stolen if they are left unlocked. A bike lock comes in handy to make sure your bike stays where you left it and when you go out to restaurants or to get groceries. The general rule of thumb is to spend around 20% of your bike’s cost to buy a good quality security lock. Anti-theft gadgets or alarms are also a plus.
4. Bring Spare Parts And Tools With You
You can never tell when a component will fall apart or break down. So, it’s up to you to be ready when something like that happens. I recommend bringing with you an Allen wrench set, a pump, an extra tire tube, and a patch kit. I also find it useful to have tools at home and in school.
Apart from these tips, you should also be familiar with the different biking mistakes to avoid. To know what are these, please watch this video:
Based on the buying guide in this article, my favorite among the best bikes for college is the Pure Fix Original Bike. It is reasonably priced, lightweight, durable, stylish, and smooth-riding. While it does have a few negatives, its features are enough to deliver an outstanding performance on the road.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned a thing or two. If you want to read more articles like this, check out our other reviews! Good luck on your quest in finding the perfect bike for college commute!